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What Causes an A/C Evaporator Coil to Leak?

Friday, September 26, 2014

The evaporator coil in your air conditioning system is responsible for absorbing heat from the air around it and producing cool air to condition your home. In some cases, an A/C evaporator coil leak can occur. Coils are made to resist conditions that can cause a leak, which means that most coil leaks happen because of controllable outside factors. Tend to these factors and you can prevent an A/C evaporator coil leak.

Causes of Evaporator Coil Leaks

Most evaporator coils are made of copper. Leaks occur when formic acid is created inside the coils. This acid creates corrosion and damage that can cause evaporator coil leaks. Formic acid occurs during a chemical reaction between copper, water and oxygen, three things that are commonly present in and around evaporator coils. This type of damaging acid can also be created when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contact and react with the copper of the coils.

Replace the Coils

One reliable way to ensure formic acid doesn't form in the coils is to replace copper coils with plastic or another nonreactive substance. Condenser coils are being replaced more often in response to restrictions on the use of R-22 refrigerant, instead using newer refrigerants such as R-410A. If you're making this change to your A/C system, you'll also be able to prevent leaks caused by formic acid.

Control Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds

You can also reduce formic acid damage by limiting the coils' exposure to VOCs such as air fresheners, cleaning materials, chemically treated carpets or building materials, or any substance that was created using a chemical process. You can reduce VOC exposure by:

  • Limiting the use of VOCs and VOC-containing products.
  • Increasing ventilation and fresh air flow to disperse VOCs.
  • Having regular preventive maintenance performed on the A/C, which includes coil inspection and cleaning. This allows an HVAC professional to examine the coils and detect possible A/C leaks. Regular maintenance also makes it less likely that pressures in the coil will break through weak spots and create a leak.

Contact us today for help finding a West Texas HVAC contractor near you.

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